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Thread: Math People - Help!

  1. #31
    Colin McGuigan Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Matt Markus <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:3a4379c5$1@news.devx.com...
    > OF COURSE IT WAS!!!!! I certainly wasn't to test my VB skills!!!!!!


    In programming, VB skills are...well, they're not what I look for. It's
    knowledge of a bunch of keywords, really. I look for programming ability:
    the ability to write good, clean code, no matter what the language.

    Hence, I tend to ask logic problems, or "How would you solve this..."
    problems, rather than questions about VB's syntax, which is really, IMHO,
    pointless.

    But that's just a tangent.

    > With all due respect, sir, you sound like a complete idiot by saying that.
    > I'm telling you, right now, as I sit here, that I personally know people
    > that are very successful programmers, who make a lot of money, have

    proven
    > themeselves time and time again and *CANNOT* solve that algebra
    > prolbem!!!!!!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS?????? IT IS POSSIBLE! Why is it
    > possible? BECAUSE I HAVE PROOF!!!!!


    Proof? Nevermind. We won't even get into that tangent.

    'Making a lot of money' != 'Good programmer'

    I've seen plenty of programmers who make lots of money and who have worked
    on lots of projects, who write crap code. What's that prove? It's proven
    that they've found someone who's willing to pay them a lot of money.
    Depending upon what type of software they do, this may be fine: you don't
    need to know much of anything to plop some data bound controls onto a form
    or an ASP page and let fly, after all.

    > God, you sound like completely narrow-minded fool by making such

    statements.
    > <****>


    Ironic.

    --
    Colin McGuigan




  2. #32
    Colin McGuigan Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Brian Patrick <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:3a438167$1@news.devx.com...
    > I've *never* (in over 5 years) had any need to use an algebraic equation,
    > such as the one discussed here. I use adding, subtracting, multiplying,
    > dividing, exponents, and percentages on a regular basis.


    Nothing was required to solve the mother/daughter problem besides addition,
    subtraction, multiplication, and division.

    --
    Colin McGuigan




  3. #33
    Brian Patrick Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    >What kind of software do you design? There's a difference >between someone
    >who designs financial software, and someone who does a shopping >website.


    Good point (I can't believe it took someone this long to same something of
    this nature) You're right, I don't write financial software, never have.
    I suppose though, If I need write financial software in the future, I'll
    need to brush up on the types of skills you deal with on a daily basis.
    Just as you may have to learn new skills someday which I use on a daily basis.

    >Basic algebra is taught in the 8th grade. (Might be 9th, >now). Would

    you
    >similarly say, "...that if I was not offered a VB/ASP software >development
    >job because I have forgotten basic English and grammer..."?


    Get real. I won't even dignify that with a response.

    <Personally, I've almost always done financial software

    We'll That makes sense - I'd hope you'd be confident with many different
    levels of math.


    "Colin McGuigan" <colin@chicor.com> wrote:
    >Brian Patrick <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    >news:3a437dbf$1@news.devx.com...
    ><snip>
    >> I've *never* (in over 5 years) had any need to use an algebraic equation,
    >> such as the one discussed here. I use adding, subtracting, multiplying,
    >> dividing, exponents, and percentages on a regular basis.

    >
    >What kind of software do you design? There's a difference between someone
    >who designs financial software, and someone who does a shopping website.
    >
    >(Personally, I've almost always done financial software, and the amount

    of
    >math that's required is staggering. I've yet to use calculus, but other
    >than that...)
    >
    >> I can tell you (as well as many others) that if I was not offered a VB/ASP
    >> software development job because I have forgotten basic algebra, the

    >potential
    >> employer would have made big mistake.

    >
    >Basic algebra is taught in the 8th grade. (Might be 9th, now). Would you
    >similarly say, "...that if I was not offered a VB/ASP software development
    >job because I have forgotten basic English and grammer..."?
    >
    >> How do you explain my success ?

    >
    >Well, let's take problems in the mother/daughter vein.
    >
    >Can you answer the following questions:
    >
    >* The one original posted about the mother/daughter?
    >
    >* If an account will accrue 8% interest per year, what amount of money will
    >I need to invest to have $200,000 in 10 years?
    >
    >* If a given stock had a median value of $10 in January, $15 in February,
    >$26 in March, $24 in April, $18 in May, and $14 in June, what was it's
    >median value for the half?
    >
    >* I have a choice of investing $!0,000: I can invest the $10,000 in a
    >portfolio that is guaranteed to return 4%, or I can invest it in a portfolio
    >that has an 80% chance of returning 7%, a 10% chance of returning nothing,
    >and a 10% chance of losing 4%. Statistically, which is the better option?
    >
    >If you can, congratulations: you remember basic algebra. If you can't,

    I'd
    >have to say that the chances you could work at my present company would

    be
    >slim.
    >
    >--
    >Colin McGuigan
    >
    >
    >



  4. #34
    Ian Post Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Brian:

    "Brian Patrick" <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:3a437dbf$1@news.devx.com...
    >
    > I've been developing software for over 5 years and have MCSD

    certification.
    > I didn't go to college, so the only algebra I've been *taught* was around
    > 10 years ago in high school. I've learned all my programming skills

    through
    > on the job experience, books, magazines, newsgroups, vb and asp related

    web
    > sites, and pushing myself by coding on my personal time and learning new
    > things.


    Pretty much the same here. I'm not positing college education as a
    requirement, just logical thinking and mathematical skills.

    > I've *never* (in over 5 years) had any need to use an algebraic equation,
    > such as the one discussed here. I use adding, subtracting, multiplying,
    > dividing, exponents, and percentages on a regular basis.


    Are you sure of that? It is possible that certain problem-solving skills
    that you have developed without formal education in the subject would be
    recognized as algebraic by others? How would you have approached the
    mother/daughter question, or the chicken question? They do approximate real
    life situations that programmers must be able to handle...






  5. #35
    Duane Snelling Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Brian,

    >
    >However, someone in a previous post said that they would not hire someone
    >based on that question alone. That, to me, is absurd.
    >

    That would be stupid to not hire someone just for the one question. Just
    for the face the interviewee is very nervous. I for one hate hate doing
    tests in interviews.

    >
    >I'm sure you'd have been furious if you weren't able to work on your project
    >because you didn't have a business degree.
    >


    You know if I was applying for this job to write this application off the
    street I may not have been hired. But since I already work here and they
    KNOW ME. Plus I have proven myself to be very quick and resourceful they
    gave me the project. Sure I would be disappointed, but who wouldn't be.

    Duane...

    "Brian Patrick" <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >I agree with you.
    >
    >However, someone in a previous post said that they would not hire someone
    >based on that question alone. That, to me, is absurd.
    >
    >I'm sure you'd have been furious if you weren't able to work on your project
    >because you didn't have a business degree.
    >
    >
    >"Duane Snelling" <dsnelling@msc.ca> wrote:
    >>
    >>Matt,
    >>Programming is based on Math, general and advanced. The nice thing about
    >>VB is most of the advanced math is done for you by Microsoft. You are

    right
    >>though, a coder can write excellent programs without the need for advance
    >>math in VB. Normally because the math equations are done by the developer
    >>who designed the software and not the coder. I don't think anyone here

    >is
    >>putting you down, just stressing a point. Yes you can write and develop
    >>excellent programs without any math. But there will come a time in your
    >>programming career that will require you to know general and advance math
    >>skills for a project. If a company asked you a interview question like

    >the
    >>one you were asked, is only because they want to judge your ablity to solve
    >>a problem on your own and not just the math itself. It's not a bad thing
    >>that you had trouble with the math part of that question, but in turn its
    >>not a good thing either. The one thing that I have learned over the years,
    >>is that programming is not just about writing good software applications,
    >>its about advancing yourself to your fullest ablity. You should take your
    >>ledge of having some problems with algebra and take time to learn. Every
    >>new project brings a new problem which needs to be solved. If you want

    >to
    >>be an amazing programmer you need to have the want to learn as must as

    you
    >>can. Some projects require it. To give you an example. I am going to

    be
    >>working on a data ware house type project. I need to goto the libery to
    >>find out some information on the most common ways of running Business.


    >Now
    >>sure if I have degree in business it would be easier, but it gives me the
    >>opertunity to learn something more and advance my knowledge and ablity.
    >>
    >>Happy Holidays
    >>Duane...
    >>
    >>"Matt Markus" <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>>Ian --
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>"Ian Post" <SpamFree@TheWay.ToBe> wrote in message
    >>>news:3a436ace$1@news.devx.com...
    >>>> Matt:
    >>>> If you are doing any coding of logic and problem solving (90% of
    >>>> programming), yes. If all you are doing is UI design and database
    >>>> read-write, then you can get by without it, but I'd never hire someone
    >>>that
    >>>> limited.
    >>>
    >>>Hey, define logic for me, just so I can find out if were on the same page.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>> You don't know very many good coders, IMHO, if the best one you know
    >>>> couldn't solve the chicken problem.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>***? You don't even know who I'm talking about, nor have you ever seen

    >>any
    >>>of their code!!! How can you sit there and make such an ignorant,
    >>>presumptious statement!?!
    >>>
    >>>> OK, here's one for you: Write an application to solve the chicken problem.
    >>>> How would you do that if you do not know how yourself?
    >>>
    >>>Yeah, that's a realistic VB application!
    >>>
    >>>Write an app to provide cost estimating on construction projects,
    >>>> giving the user options based on current prices of product and the most
    >>>> cost-effective manner of completing the project. How could you do that
    >>>> without these types of basic math skills?
    >>>
    >>>You do *not* need to know algebra to do that, basic math skills yes, but

    >>not
    >>>algebra!
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>

    >>

    >



  6. #36
    Brian Patrick Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    >It is possible that certain problem-solving skills
    >that you have developed without formal education in the subject >would be
    >recognized as algebraic by others?


    Point well taken. Someone wrote a piece of code earlier that figured out
    the Mother/Daughter problem. This is exactly how I would approached it.

    I was under the impression the employer wanted the applicant to use algebra
    on paper to solve this problem. That, I could not have done.



    "Ian Post" <SpamFree@TheWay.ToBe> wrote:
    >Brian:
    >
    >"Brian Patrick" <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    >news:3a437dbf$1@news.devx.com...
    >>
    >> I've been developing software for over 5 years and have MCSD

    >certification.
    >> I didn't go to college, so the only algebra I've been *taught* was around
    >> 10 years ago in high school. I've learned all my programming skills

    >through
    >> on the job experience, books, magazines, newsgroups, vb and asp related

    >web
    >> sites, and pushing myself by coding on my personal time and learning new
    >> things.

    >
    >Pretty much the same here. I'm not positing college education as a
    >requirement, just logical thinking and mathematical skills.
    >
    >> I've *never* (in over 5 years) had any need to use an algebraic equation,
    >> such as the one discussed here. I use adding, subtracting, multiplying,
    >> dividing, exponents, and percentages on a regular basis.

    >
    >Are you sure of that? It is possible that certain problem-solving skills
    >that you have developed without formal education in the subject would be
    >recognized as algebraic by others? How would you have approached the
    >mother/daughter question, or the chicken question? They do approximate

    real
    >life situations that programmers must be able to handle...
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >



  7. #37
    Garrett Fitzgerald Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    In article <3a426630$1@news.devx.com>, matt_markus@hotmail.com says...
    > But it *was* asked in an
    > interview for a VB Programmer position. Do you, or anyone here, think that's
    > a relevent, or even appropriate question for such an interview?


    Highly. If you can't do Algebra, how can you program properly?

  8. #38
    Matt Markus Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Ok,

    "Colin McGuigan" <colin@chicor.com> wrote in message
    news:3a4386f8@news.devx.com...
    > Brian Patrick <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    > news:3a438167$1@news.devx.com...
    > > I've *never* (in over 5 years) had any need to use an algebraic

    equation,
    > > such as the one discussed here. I use adding, subtracting, multiplying,
    > > dividing, exponents, and percentages on a regular basis.

    >
    > Nothing was required to solve the mother/daughter problem besides

    addition,
    > subtraction, multiplication, and division.
    >
    > --
    > Colin McGuigan
    >
    >
    >


    Let me back up (I thought this was understood by everyone). Anyway, I was
    asked to come up with an equation to solve that problem, not just get the
    answer. If the requirement was merely to provide the correct answer, I could
    have done that through trail and error (i.e., tried different numbers until
    one worked), but what I could *not* do is to come up with the equation that
    would provide the correct answer. This requires algebra, no two ways about
    it. Everyone I have spoken to agrees: nobody could do that without some
    algebra. So I say to you: it's irrelevent because it's not testing your
    problem solving skills in the context of software development, but rather,
    in the context of algebra, which I have virtually no experience with. I can,
    however, code very well for someone with my length of experience in the
    field (this I can prove). And I don't mean dropping data controls on forms
    (I hate those), which another overly presumtious person equated by abilities
    to. I also wasn't talking about syntax either. It seems to me, to be both
    relevent and indicative of someones skills, the most appropriate thing to do
    is to ask them to write of function or small application that encapsulates
    some good, real-world logic - not a friggin algerba question.


    I hope my point is clearer.



  9. #39
    Colin McGuigan Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Brian Patrick <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:3a438ae0@news.devx.com...

    >Good point (I can't believe it took someone this long to same something of
    >this nature) You're right, I don't write financial software, never have.
    > I suppose though, If I need write financial software in the future, I'll
    >need to brush up on the types of skills you deal with on a daily basis.
    >Just as you may have to learn new skills someday which I use on a daily

    basis.

    I hate to spoil the invective by introducting these things... =)

    But, I am curious. What type of software do you write?

    > >Basic algebra is taught in the 8th grade. (Might be 9th, >now). Would

    > you
    > >similarly say, "...that if I was not offered a VB/ASP software

    >development
    > >job because I have forgotten basic English and grammer..."?

    >
    > Get real. I won't even dignify that with a response.


    Why not? I was being perfectly serious. In fact, I find it more plausible
    that someone would not be very good at English and still be an excellent
    programmer, simply because of all the H1-Bs around. I'd have to say that at
    least half of those people I interview are H1-B.

    So here's the question. Would you, if you were an employer, hire someone
    who was an _excellent_ programmer, knew all the tricks, etc, etc, but had
    poor English and grammar skills? I'd have to say that I don't think I
    would.

    --
    Colin McGuigan




  10. #40
    Brian Patrick Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    >You know if I was applying for this job to write this >application off the
    >street I may not have been hired. But since I already work >here and they
    >KNOW ME. Plus I have proven myself to be very quick and >resourceful they
    >gave me the project. Sure I would be disappointed, but who >wouldn't be.


    This is my point exactly. They know you and your abilities. It's just sad
    that a potential employer may never know you or your abilites due to the
    fact that you couldn't solve an algebra problem.



    "Duane Snelling" <dsnelling@msc.ca> wrote:
    >
    >Brian,
    >
    >>
    >>However, someone in a previous post said that they would not hire someone
    >>based on that question alone. That, to me, is absurd.
    >>

    >That would be stupid to not hire someone just for the one question. Just
    >for the face the interviewee is very nervous. I for one hate hate doing
    >tests in interviews.
    >
    >>
    >>I'm sure you'd have been furious if you weren't able to work on your project
    >>because you didn't have a business degree.
    >>

    >
    >You know if I was applying for this job to write this application off the
    >street I may not have been hired. But since I already work here and they
    >KNOW ME. Plus I have proven myself to be very quick and resourceful they
    >gave me the project. Sure I would be disappointed, but who wouldn't be.
    >
    >Duane...
    >
    >"Brian Patrick" <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>I agree with you.
    >>
    >>However, someone in a previous post said that they would not hire someone
    >>based on that question alone. That, to me, is absurd.
    >>
    >>I'm sure you'd have been furious if you weren't able to work on your project
    >>because you didn't have a business degree.
    >>
    >>
    >>"Duane Snelling" <dsnelling@msc.ca> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>Matt,
    >>>Programming is based on Math, general and advanced. The nice thing about
    >>>VB is most of the advanced math is done for you by Microsoft. You are

    >right
    >>>though, a coder can write excellent programs without the need for advance
    >>>math in VB. Normally because the math equations are done by the developer
    >>>who designed the software and not the coder. I don't think anyone here

    >>is
    >>>putting you down, just stressing a point. Yes you can write and develop
    >>>excellent programs without any math. But there will come a time in your
    >>>programming career that will require you to know general and advance math
    >>>skills for a project. If a company asked you a interview question like

    >>the
    >>>one you were asked, is only because they want to judge your ablity to

    solve
    >>>a problem on your own and not just the math itself. It's not a bad thing
    >>>that you had trouble with the math part of that question, but in turn

    its
    >>>not a good thing either. The one thing that I have learned over the years,
    >>>is that programming is not just about writing good software applications,
    >>>its about advancing yourself to your fullest ablity. You should take

    your
    >>>ledge of having some problems with algebra and take time to learn. Every
    >>>new project brings a new problem which needs to be solved. If you want

    >>to
    >>>be an amazing programmer you need to have the want to learn as must as

    >you
    >>>can. Some projects require it. To give you an example. I am going to

    >be
    >>>working on a data ware house type project. I need to goto the libery

    to
    >>>find out some information on the most common ways of running Business.

    >
    >>Now
    >>>sure if I have degree in business it would be easier, but it gives me

    the
    >>>opertunity to learn something more and advance my knowledge and ablity.
    >>>
    >>>Happy Holidays
    >>>Duane...
    >>>
    >>>"Matt Markus" <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >>>>Ian --
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>"Ian Post" <SpamFree@TheWay.ToBe> wrote in message
    >>>>news:3a436ace$1@news.devx.com...
    >>>>> Matt:
    >>>>> If you are doing any coding of logic and problem solving (90% of
    >>>>> programming), yes. If all you are doing is UI design and database
    >>>>> read-write, then you can get by without it, but I'd never hire someone
    >>>>that
    >>>>> limited.
    >>>>
    >>>>Hey, define logic for me, just so I can find out if were on the same

    page.
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>> You don't know very many good coders, IMHO, if the best one you know
    >>>>> couldn't solve the chicken problem.
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>***? You don't even know who I'm talking about, nor have you ever seen
    >>>any
    >>>>of their code!!! How can you sit there and make such an ignorant,
    >>>>presumptious statement!?!
    >>>>
    >>>>> OK, here's one for you: Write an application to solve the chicken problem.
    >>>>> How would you do that if you do not know how yourself?
    >>>>
    >>>>Yeah, that's a realistic VB application!
    >>>>
    >>>>Write an app to provide cost estimating on construction projects,
    >>>>> giving the user options based on current prices of product and the

    most
    >>>>> cost-effective manner of completing the project. How could you do

    that
    >>>>> without these types of basic math skills?
    >>>>
    >>>>You do *not* need to know algebra to do that, basic math skills yes,

    but
    >>>not
    >>>>algebra!
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>

    >>

    >



  11. #41
    Ian Post Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Brian:

    > >It is possible that certain problem-solving skills
    > >that you have developed without formal education in the subject >would be
    > >recognized as algebraic by others?

    >
    > Point well taken. Someone wrote a piece of code earlier that figured out
    > the Mother/Daughter problem. This is exactly how I would approached it.
    >
    > I was under the impression the employer wanted the applicant to use

    algebra
    > on paper to solve this problem. That, I could not have done.


    To be totally honest, I'm not sure my way of writing it out would have been
    "algebraicly correct" either. :-) I do agree with you that if they had
    been testing on the written math used and not the result (and methodology to
    obtain result), it would not be fair or particularly relevant unless you are
    programming Mathematica.

    Ian



  12. #42
    Duane Snelling Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Colin,

    >So here's the question. Would you, if you were an employer, hire someone
    >who was an _excellent_ programmer, knew all the tricks, etc, etc, but had
    >poor English and grammar skills? I'd have to say that I don't think I
    >would.
    >


    I disagree with that. Sure in some positions it may require good communication
    skills, but not all. Don't forget there are alot of off shore people who
    are amazing programmers but can't speak or write english very well. But
    to deny their skills as programmers would be silly.

    Duane...


  13. #43
    Brian Patrick Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Obviously, I'd prefer to hire someone with atleast average English/grammar
    skills. But...

    I do know (first hand) that it is very hard to find *GOOD* programmers.
    I've had to hire people in the past and it is not easy. This industry is
    saturated with many below average skilled programmers. So right now, I'd
    go with the person who could do the job. Bottom Line !

    >But, I am curious. What type of software do you write?


    I've worked with Medical Billing, Sales Forecasting, Reporting, etc. Standard
    business applications used by Ford Motor Company, American Express, etc.



    "Colin McGuigan" <colin@chicor.com> wrote:
    >Brian Patrick <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    >news:3a438ae0@news.devx.com...
    >
    >>Good point (I can't believe it took someone this long to same something

    of
    >>this nature) You're right, I don't write financial software, never have.
    >> I suppose though, If I need write financial software in the future, I'll
    >>need to brush up on the types of skills you deal with on a daily basis.
    >>Just as you may have to learn new skills someday which I use on a daily

    >basis.
    >
    >I hate to spoil the invective by introducting these things... =)
    >
    >But, I am curious. What type of software do you write?
    >
    >> >Basic algebra is taught in the 8th grade. (Might be 9th, >now). Would

    >> you
    >> >similarly say, "...that if I was not offered a VB/ASP software

    >>development
    >> >job because I have forgotten basic English and grammer..."?

    >>
    >> Get real. I won't even dignify that with a response.

    >
    >Why not? I was being perfectly serious. In fact, I find it more plausible
    >that someone would not be very good at English and still be an excellent
    >programmer, simply because of all the H1-Bs around. I'd have to say that

    at
    >least half of those people I interview are H1-B.
    >
    >So here's the question. Would you, if you were an employer, hire someone
    >who was an _excellent_ programmer, knew all the tricks, etc, etc, but had
    >poor English and grammar skills? I'd have to say that I don't think I
    >would.
    >
    >--
    >Colin McGuigan
    >
    >
    >



  14. #44
    Duane Snelling Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Brian,

    >This is my point exactly. They know you and your abilities. It's just

    sad
    >that a potential employer may never know you or your abilites due to the
    >fact that you couldn't solve an algebra problem.
    >
    >

    I have never known a employer to only judge a interviewee on just one question.
    Normally It's a few different types of questions to determine if you are
    right for the position. When I was hired I was given questions in different
    areas to determine how resourceful and knowledgeable I was. The interview
    is how a company gets to know you and your ablity, and their questions reflect
    that or should reflect that.

    Duane...

  15. #45
    Colin McGuigan Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Matt Markus <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:3a439002@news.devx.com...
    > Let me back up (I thought this was understood by everyone). Anyway, I was
    > asked to come up with an equation to solve that problem, not just get the
    > answer. If the requirement was merely to provide the correct answer, I

    could
    > have done that through trail and error (i.e., tried different numbers

    until
    > one worked), but what I could *not* do is to come up with the equation

    that
    > would provide the correct answer. This requires algebra, no two ways about
    > it. Everyone I have spoken to agrees: nobody could do that without some
    > algebra.


    Yes, I see that in your original post now. I missed that.

    > It seems to me, to be both
    > relevent and indicative of someones skills, the most appropriate thing to

    do
    > is to ask them to write of function or small application that encapsulates
    > some good, real-world logic - not a friggin algerba question.


    Depends on what the job was for (I don't believe you've said). If it was
    for my current company (which as I've said elsewhere, does financial
    software), then being able to do algebra is a downright requirement. I can
    see where it would be less important for other avenues.

    Algebra, though, is logic. Answering the question required two skills:

    1) It required you to translate words into equations. I personally think
    this skill _is_ required; I've never gotten a spec for a design that had
    equations in it. It's always been in the form of 'The program needs to
    calculate...', leaving the programmer to figure out exactly how to implement
    it.

    IOW, I _would_ say that it's required that someone be able to look at the
    mother/daughter problem and come up with:

    (Mother's Age) = (Daughter's Age) * 4
    (Mother's Age) + 20 = ((Daughter's Age) + 20) * 2

    The whole point of being able to program is take thoughts in English and
    translate them into code, after all.

    2) It required you to use substitution or equation subtraction to combine
    the two. IMHO, this is also a test of logical skills (if MA = DA * 4, then
    the second equation can be rewritten (without using equation subtraction) to
    be: (DA * 4) + 20 = (DA + 20) * 2)...but I'll admit I might be biased on
    this point, as I deal so much in it.

    --
    Colin McGuigan




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